Practiitoner Certificate in Freedom of Information


Standard Programme


The Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information ("PC.foi") is the practical qualification for those that work in the field of Freedom of Information.

Successful completion of the Programme demonstrates to employers and others that the candidate possesses a solid knowledge of Freedom of Information law (and the Environmental Information Regulations), as well as an understanding of the practical implications for organisations of the legal requirements, including how to manage an FOI request from inception to completion.

"I really enjoyed FOI practitioner programme - the tutors were real experts in their field. They went above and beyond to answer your questions and help you understand the material."


The Programme

The tuition section of the Programme requires candidates to attend four one-day Compulsory Courses (see upcoming course dates below).

  • 4 days face-to-face teaching
  • study of course materials
  • the Examination

The tuition section of the Programme requires candidates to attend four one-day Compulsory Courses (see boxes below).

Each course is held in several cities throughout the UK at various times of the year. 


eLearning (Distance Learning)

The Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information is available as an eLearning Programme (also known as "Distance Learning")


Practitioner Certificate Exam

Exam Dates

The next dates for the Examination are as follows:

  • Monday, 13th December 2021
  • Monday, 13th June 2022
  • Monday, 12th December 2022


The Fee

£1,850 plus VAT (fully inclusive of tuition, materials and the Examination).

Candidates who have already attended any of the Compulsory Courses are not required to attend them again - a discount of £300 per course already attended will be applied to the Programme fee. Please let us know which courses you have already attended when you enrol on the Programme.

Alternatively if you have completed all 4 relevant courses before enrolling on the Programme, you can enrol for the reduced fee of £425 plus VAT, which covers the printed materials and the Examination.

A discount of 10% is available for each additional candidate from your organisation enrolling at the same time.


Register of Qualified Freedom of Information Practitioners

The online register of those who have gained the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information can viewed here.


Further Information

If you have a query about the Programme, please:

  • visit the FAQs page
  • telephone PDP at +44 (0)207 014 3399
  • send an email


Recommended Reading

Candidates on the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of information Programme are advised to study one of the following two recommended text books prior to sitting the Examination:

Blackstone’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, 5th Edition, February 2014
By John Wadham, Jonathan Griffiths and Bethan Rigby
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 5th Edition ( Feb 2014 )
ISBN-10: 0199686378  ISBN-13: 978-0199686377
available at  (this link will open in a new window)


The Freedom of Information Officer's Handbook, 1st Edition, January 2019
By Paul Gibbons
Publisher: Facet Publishing ( January 2019 )
ISBN-13: 9781783303533
available at PDP Books (this link will open in a new window)


The Programme fee does not include the recommended reading texts.



The Syllabus for the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information Programme has been designed by the Examination Board.



Applications for the Programme can be made by


The Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information Programme is accredited by the Law Society and the Bar Council with 20 hours CPD.


Dates of Upcoming Courses


Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE 79HE
  Compulsory Courses
Candidates must attend all 4 courses shown in the table below (click on the links to see the course descriptions which open in a new window)

Compulsory Courses City Date
FOI Practical Training - Level 1 (Essential Knowledge)
LondonTue 25 Jan 2022
ManchesterTue 22 Feb 2022
BristolTue 15 Mar 2022
BelfastTue 29 Mar 2022
LondonTue 17 May 2022
LondonTue 13 Sep 2022
ManchesterTue 27 Sep 2022
BelfastTue 01 Nov 2022
LondonTue 29 Nov 2022
FOI Practical Training - Level 2 (Applying the Exemptions)
LondonWed 26 Jan 2022
ManchesterWed 23 Feb 2022
BristolWed 16 Mar 2022
BelfastWed 30 Mar 2022
LondonWed 18 May 2022
LondonWed 14 Sep 2022
ManchesterWed 28 Sep 2022
BelfastWed 02 Nov 2022
LondonWed 30 Nov 2022
FOI and Data Protection - How They Work Together
LondonThu 27 Jan 2022
ManchesterThu 24 Feb 2022
BristolThu 17 Mar 2022
BelfastThu 31 Mar 2022
LondonThu 19 May 2022
LondonThu 15 Sep 2022
ManchesterThu 29 Sep 2022
BelfastThu 03 Nov 2022
LondonThu 01 Dec 2022
Understanding the Environmental Information Regulations
LondonFri 28 Jan 2022
ManchesterFri 25 Feb 2022
BristolFri 18 Mar 2022
BelfastFri 01 Apr 2022
LondonFri 20 May 2022
LondonFri 16 Sep 2022
ManchesterFri 30 Sep 2022
BelfastFri 04 Nov 2022
LondonFri 02 Dec 2022


To make a booking:


Make a Booking

Sign up for PDP's Email Newsletter


"I found the qualification programme very easy to navigate and work through, and was thankful for the advantages of the distance learning format – i.e. being able to re-visit the materials whenever wished."
Eleanor Johnson Ward
FOI Assessor
The National Archives


"The eLearning programme was intense, challenging and there was a lot to get through, but I enjoyed it. The materials were excellent and very detailed - to university standard. The speakers were extremely knowledgeable, their expertise coupled with the written material made each section of the course easy to comprehend."
Dawn Pelle
London Borough of Islington


"I am very pleased to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The programme provides excellent knowledge and understanding on the practical applications of handling requests for information"
Louise Smith
Information Rights Officer
Financial Ombudsman Service


"I am thrilled to have passed PDP's Practitioner Certificate in FOI and joined the ranks of a qualified FOI Practitioner. My knowledge of FOI, DPA and EIR has increased immensely and I feel so much more confident in dealing with requests as well as running inductions. I now feel that I belong in my role."
Anabel Raszpla
Senior Information Officer
Medical Research Council


"I am extremely pleased to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The four day course was extremely informative and provided me with a large amount of information on the practical application of the Act, it really helped to fill the gaps. I would highly recommend this course to those working with FOI on a day to day basis."
Daniel Howard
Access to Information Officer
Electoral Commission


"I really enjoyed FOI practitioner programme - the tutors were real experts in their field. They went above and beyond to answer your questions and help you understand the material."
Michael Speight
Compliance Officer


"A very worthwhile qualification which I wholeheartedly recommend to colleagues"
Barbara Tyldesley
Data & Information Technical Specialist
The Environment Agency


“I am so pleased to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in FOI. The 4 day course was excellent and I am now confident in my role as FOI Officer for Social Services. The course has helped me develop my skills and knowledge of FOI/EIR and DP and I would encourage anyone working in this area to attend.”
Rachael Strand
Freedom of Information Officer
Flintshire County Council


“The Practitioner Certificate in FOI was an excellent opportunity to receive specialised training and gain a recognised qualification. In particular, I found the instructors to be both knowledgeable and engaging. As a regulator in an overseas territory, I was easily able to translate the learning into practice. I have and do encourage other FOI practitioners to take advantage of this training programme.”
Clara Smith
Appeals & Compliance Analyst
Information Commissioner’s Office (Grand Cayman)


"I am delighted to have passed my examination, achieving this qualification and attending the courses have been a very positive experience which have boosted my confidence and enthusiasm for this subject. I found the courses very informative and the course handout binders are an excellent reference tool which is very relevant to the workplace."
Julie Johnson
Freedom of Information Officer
Durham County Council


"I’m delighted to have passed the exam; it was hard work preparing for an exam, having not sat one for over 10 years, but the course materials really helped structure my revision. Passing has increased my confidence in dealing with the Act which will be of benefit to myself as well as my organisation."
Heledd Thomas
Senior Corporate Governance Officer
Comisiynydd y Gymraeg


“I found this to be a comprehensive course, which was well structured to be relevant and of interest to everyone from FOI beginners to more seasoned practitioners. The course tutors were very knowledgeable and clearly very interested in their respective topic areas, and the course was similarly detailed and well-taught."
Mark Reynolds
Data Privacy Legal Counsel


"I’m thrilled to have gained this qualification. FOI can be a complicated area to understand and apply, but the tutors were excellent in bringing it to life in an interesting way."
Angela Sanderson
Corporate Advisor
Big Lottery Fund


“I’ve been managing FOI and EIR requests since 2005 and I learnt so much from this qualification programme! I enjoyed the modules, the videos were really informative and I found the way the legislation was explained was easy to understand. The test at the end of each section was really useful.”
Sue Marriott
Data Protection Officer
Basildon Council


“The Practitioner’s Certificate has equipped me with the knowledge and confidence to undertake my role. I found the courses well presented and easy to follow. The case studies are particularly useful, as they give an insight into different scenarios that one may experience. I would recommend PDP to anyone wanting to gain this qualification.”
Kim Starbuck
Information Governance Coordination
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham


"Both the thought provoking training and materials as well as passing the exam will help to ensure we provide a prompt quality service when dealing with information requests particularly as those involving planning can raise complex issues"
John Pierce
Case Officer
The Department for Communities and Local Government


"I found the training to be both informative and well-structured which helped to make a complex subject more understandable. The effectiveness of the PDP training is evidenced by my success, in what I believed to be, a challenging examination and also the fact I feel better equipped to function in my workplace."
Kevin Spedding
Data Protection Coordinator
Witherslack Group


"The course was interesting and very challenging and I must admit that I felt totally exhausted when I left the exam. The hard work and revision was all worthwhile and I now feel more confident in my role."
Teresa Evans
Information Governance Manager
Birmingham City Council


"I found this course challenging, informative and incredibly beneficial to my role. All courses were very professionally delivered and each tutor’s knowledge of the subject was excellent. It was clear all tutors were highly motivated with a willingness to share their expertise. I highly recommend this course to all FOI practitioners."
Andrea Dow
GHA Legal


“I am delighted to have achieved the Practitioner Certificate in FOI. The PDP training sessions were extremely well delivered and although challenging I found them to be an enjoyable experience. Gaining the qualification has not only given me more confidence in my role as Freedom of Information Officer but has extended my knowledge and skills in my role. I would recommend the programme to anyone working in the field of FOI ”
Christine Paciorek
Freedom of Information Officer
Durham County Council


Having attended the course and sitting the exam I have learned a wealth of information and gained knowledge, and an overall new found level of confidence, in a new subject area of which will come in very useful in the changing environment of information governance. I am thrilled to have passed the exam and gained the qualification.”
Kate Tregale
Information Governance Manager
NHS Bristol


“I’m really pleased to have passed this examination. The qualification is evidence of my professional FOI knowledge in my organisation. I would recommend this course to other individuals working in the FOI area.”
Julia Snape
Information Associate


“I am thrilled to have passed the Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information. The course and exam were quite challenging but have given me much more confidence in performing my role. The accompanying materials were really helpful and are an excellent source of reference.”
Lisa Smith
Corporate Information Manager
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service


“The four training days gave me a sound knowledge base which I was able to translate into practice easily and I regularly refer back to my course notes and slides. The training was led by highly proficient experts who demystified the concepts. I would recommend the Practitioner Certificate in FOI to anybody responsible for this function.”
Deborah Pullen
Head of Legal & Regulatory Services
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust


“The course was interesting and informative, and even after working in this field for some time I realised there was still much to learn. It's nice to have an actual qualification to back up the advice and guidance I give!”
Steve Wilson
Senior Policy Officer
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)


“My knowledge of access to information legislation has increased greatly since attending the Practitioners Certificate in FOI programme. All of the Tutors and PDP staff were great throughout and I’d highly recommend the course to fellow professionals working within the field.”
Garry Dando
Access to Information Officer
Marine Management Organisation


“The FOI Practitioner Programme provides a very good understanding of access to information legislation and my confidence has increased immensely. The course content and materials are fantastic and I use the folders as reference regularly in my role.”
Leila Ridley
Information Compliance Manager
Islington Council


“Many thanks to the tutors and PDP staff for their support during the programme. The course was very helpful in my role and in preparation for the exam.”
Ravinder Singh
Information Manager
Technology Strategy Board


“The PDP Practitioner Certificate in FOI is a comprehensive qualification that gives FOI practitioners up-to-date knowledge and confidence in dealing with information requests.”
Judy Gough
Interim Information Access Manager
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority


“There’s a lot more to dealing with information requests than most people think! Proper training is essential, but it’s great that there is now also the opportunity to become qualified. The FOI Practitioner course and exam was very challenging, but well worth the effort and I’m very glad I did it.”
Jane Hay
Performance Officer
Purbeck District Council